Recently, Aaron Mitchell, Sabine Parish Sheriff, and Cheryl Wooley, Many Police Chief joined together with their officers, deputies, School Resource Officers, detectives, and K-9 units and youth from around the Parish to make it clear they are committed to keeping our children and youth safe. The Sabine Prevention Alliance (SPA) brought these groups together to join with students from the Parish to take pictures that will be featured on signs in areas where children and youth gather for recreation.
When asked why she wanted to partner with the SPA, Many Police Chief Cheryl Wooley said, “If we don’t have a safe, productive generation of kids and youth, then this community has no future. It’s vitally important that we help provide a safe environment and opportunities for them to thrive.”
The mission of the Sabine Prevention Alliance is to reduce underage drinking through communication and cooperation with various community members in the Parish. Each fiscal year, based on the most recent data, the SPA develops and revises an action plan to work toward its goals and mission.
One of this year’s environmental strategies is to work with and support local and parish law enforcement agencies to implement compliance checks with local alcohol vendors, conduct party patrols to monitor outdoor youth parties, provide sobriety checkpoints during high-risk times and create safe spaces for children, youth and families to recreate.
Aaron Mitchell said, “As Sheriff of Sabine Parish, I am fully vested and committed to ensure an environment that will keep our youth safe, because the youth in our communities now will be the leaders of our Parish in the future.”
A grant will pay for signs that depict our law enforcement agencies providing a safe space for our children and youth. These signs will send a clear message that our parks and recreational areas are Safe Zones where alcohol, drugs and any other high-risk behaviors are not tolerated. Phone numbers to report any violations will be provided on the signs so our citizens can join in the work of keeping our children and youth safe, sober, and successful.
James Wagley, Coalition Coordinator for SPA said, “Sabine Prevention Alliance is grateful to our Law Enforcement and other community sectors that show care, concern and responsibility for the safety and support of your children and youth. Together we can build a strong continuum of care for our youth.”
For more information on how you can assist in this community-wide effort, call or text 318-315-0081, go to Facebook / Sabine Prevention Alliance, http://www.sabineprevents.com or visit the SPA Office at 259 Fisher Rd. Many, La 71449.
Go Many Tigers! BOM is proud to continue our sponsorship of the Many High School football program. Pictured from left are BOM’s Tiffany Miller and MHS Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Jess Curtis.
BOM would like to congratulate Lori Wallace on her promotion to Staff Accountant. Lori has been with BOM since November of 2019. She is a graduate of Castor High School, and she continued her education at Louisiana Tech University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and her Master’s in Business Administration. Lori is a proud alumna of Kappa Delta Sorority. She traveled as a
consultant immediately after college and has served as a volunteer on the National Leadership Team. Lori said, “I am so thankful to be a part of the BOM family. The relationships I’ve formed and the support I receive are like no other.” In her spare time, Lori enjoys exercising, traveling and spending time with her family and friends. Congratulations, Lori!
Many PD has a possible lead on information regarding the recent break-in at Russell’s Jewelry in Many on Thursday. MPD is seeking information on this vehicle seen near the location of Russell’s Jewelry early morning of 9/23/21. Anyone with any information is asked to privately message Many PD on their Facebook page.
Russell’s Jewelry of Many was broken into in the early hours of Thursday morning between 4am and 5am. Anyone with any information is being asked to contact the Many Police Department privately or to message privately through their Facebook page. Please refrain from commenting on the Facebook post regarding the situation as it may hinder the intensive investigation currently underway.
Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force agents arrested Jason Lofton, 41, of the 700 block of Allen Beulah Rd. on Sept. 23 after a several month long investigation, according to a Task Force official. During the arrest, Agents conducted multiple search warrants, which resulted in the seizure of the following items:
•Methamphetamine: 3 Pounds 6 ounces. (Estimated street value $14,440.00.)
•Marijuana: 338 grams
•Cocaine: 5.6 grams
•Heroin: 4.7 grams
•Hydrocodone: 6 pills
•Morphine: 10 pills
•Ecstasy: 45 pills
•THC Products (Edibles, THC extract, etc.): 40
•$1,498.00 U.S. currency
As a result of the findings, Lofton was charged with the following charges:
•4 counts – Possession of Schedule I controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute.
•2 counts – Possession of Schedule II controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute.
•1 count – Possession of Schedule V controlled dangerous substance.
•1 count – Obstruction of justice.
•1 count – Possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance.
•1 count – Possession of drug paraphernalia.
Lofton was issued a District court date of December 6th 2021, and transported to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center to await bond.
This investigation is ongoing
The Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force would like to thank the Citizens of Natchitoches for their support. Many times an investigation begins with a simple phone call or tip from a concerned citizen. For this reason, the Task Force encourages all citizens to report any crimes in their neighborhoods anonymously by calling 318-357-2248, The Natchitoches Police Department, or the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.
In 1945, General inherited a large multilevel house which was in disrepair. The wooden structure was in danger of collapsing and the masonry was crumbling. The floors creaked and swayed, especially when walked on. The light fixtures in the lower rooms swayed when someone walked on the floors above. One light fixture in the house seemed to be lower with each passing day. General referred to the creaking and moaning of the house’s rotting timbers as ghosts. General had an architect inspect the house who remarked that “the beams [in the house] are staying up there from force of habit only.” The house was in danger of collapsing. The last straw came in June of 1948 when a leg of a piano crashed through an upper floor and through the ceiling of the dining room. In November of 1949, General moved into a residence nearby so that the house he inherited could be reconstructed. The house had too much sentimental value for it to be demolished.
Not everyone liked General. In fact, some people wanted to kill General and he knew it. For this reason, General surrounded himself with bodyguards, some of which were police officers.
At about 2:15 on the afternoon of November 1, 1950, two men, Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo, set a plan into motion to murder General. They had learned that General had moved into the temporary residence. Griselio approached the residence from the west side, while Oscar approached from the east. Police officer Donald Birdzell stood on the front steps of the residence. Oscar, with pistol in hand, snuck up behind the Birdzell and pulled the trigger. Snap!!! Oscar had forgotten to chamber a round in his pistol. Birdzell turned as Oscar chambered a round. Oscar fired the pistol and struck Birdzell in his right knee. As Oscar approached the steps which led to the front door, another bodyguard stepped out of the residence and shot Oscar in the chest. Oscar collapsed and writhed in pain at the foot of the steps.
Meanwhile, on the west side of the residence, Griselio shot police officer Leslie Coffelt four times at close range. He turned his pistol on policeman Joseph Downs and shot him three times. Griselio shot officer Birdzell in his other knee. Griselio had no more rounds in the gun and stopped to reload. General, who had been taking a nap on the second floor, peered out of a window directly over the front door to see what the commotion was. General was a First World War combat veteran and was not frightened by the gunfire. People yelled for General to get away from the window. He obeyed their command. At that moment, Coffelt, though severely injured, fired a single shot at Griselio before falling to the ground unconscious. The bullet from Coffelt’s pistol struck Griselio in the head and killed him instantly.
When the shooting was over, three guards were wounded including 40-year-old Leslie Coffelt, who died later that evening during surgery. Oscar survived and spent the next 29 years in prison. In an interview with Time magazine about the murder plot, General calmly said, “the only thing you have to worry about is bad luck.” General grinned and said, “I never have bad luck.” General remarked that he was unafraid because he “had been shot at by professionals” during the First World War.
Although the shooting lasted less than a minute, General survived a murder attempt in what was described as “the biggest gunfight in Secret Service history.” You see, the house General inherited was the White House. General was the Secret Service’s code name for… President Harry Truman.
1. The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2, 1950, p.1.
2. Mahan, Sydney. “66 Years Ago Today, President Truman Survived an Assassination Attempt at Blair House.” Washingtonian. November 1, 2016. https://www.
Inspired by the rich artistic legacy of Historic Melrose, the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APNH) is delighted to host the inaugural Melrose Folk Art Festival. This outdoor event will take place on October 9 & 10, 2021 at Melrose Plantation. The festival will feature dozens of folk artists from Louisiana and around the South displaying and selling their handcrafted, original arts from booths set up across the beautiful grounds. Folk artists use traditional methods, materials, and/or designs. They may draw upon artistic legacies passed down from previous generations or reflect their specific cultural heritage within their work. Works for display and sale at the festival will include paintings and drawings, glasswork, textiles, metalwork, basketry, and woodworking. Admissions will be sold at the gate: $5 for ages 12+, $2 for kids 6-11, free for 5 and under. The hours of the festival are 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm on Sunday.
The first Melrose Folk Art Festival is pleased to announce their Featured Artist: Kathy Tate Davis. Natchitoches artist Kathy Tate Davis has been an Okra Pod Artist since 1993. She makes original hand-made sculptures from dried okra pods and other products of nature. Pine cones and gourds are added for larger pieces. Kathy will have a booth at the festival, displaying and selling her distinctive folk art pieces. Kathy will be featured in the upcoming fall 2022 issue of “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.” She is a current member of The Natchitoches Art Guild & Gallery. Over the past 28 years, her art has been published in Southern Living, The Farm Market Bulletin, Teddy Bear Scene & various newspaper articles.
In addition to the artists, there will be food vendors and folk dancers. The NSU Art Demons will be hosting an art exhibition in the historic Creole Barn. Tours of the Big House and African House will be available for an additional charge. This event is inspired by Clementine Hunter, the famous folk artist who lived and worked at Melrose, and whose works are available for viewing at African House on site. October 1 has been designated “Clementine Hunter Day” by the State of Louisiana. Funds raised from this event will support the ongoing preservation of Melrose Plantation, a National Historic Site. Sponsorship has been provided by the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission.
In case of inclement weather, a rain date has been set for the following weekend. The organizers will follow all federal, state, and local mandates relating to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Any changes to the festival will be announced through social media and the website.
Melrose Plantation is located at 3533 Hwy 119, only 15 miles south of Natchitoches, LA.
Deborah Rikard Gay
August 13, 1950 – September 27, 2021
Williw Lee (Moody) Taylor
September 19, 1945 – September 23, 2021
Service: Saturday, October 2 at 11 am at the North Star Baptist Church, located at 734 Hwy. 485 in Powhatan
Cedric Glynn Lonadier
July 14, 1955 – September 25, 2021
Service: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 10 am at St. Maurice Cemetery in St. Maurice
Charlotte Walraven Constable
November 5, 1951 – September 24, 2021
Service: Wednesday, September 29 at 10 am at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel
Linda Marie Willis
May 26, 1957 – September 19, 2021
Service: Saturday, October 2 at 9:30 am at the Baptist Cemetery in Allen
March 28, 1972 – September 22, 2021
Service: Sunday, October 3 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches
September 20, 2021
Service: Saturday, October 2 at 2 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches
September 21, 2021
Service: Saturday, October 2 in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches
September 08, 2021
September 04, 2021